Interview with ‘Game of Thrones’ star Lena Headey

Neela Debnath

Lena Headey 300x225 Interview with ‘Game of Thrones’ star Lena HeadeyActress Lena Headey spoke to Neela Debnath at the recent autograph convention Collectormania about working on ‘Game of Thrones’, nudity and getting recognised by fans.

I find myself at the front of the queue to meet Lena Headey, one of the stars of HBO’s medieval fantasy series Game of thrones. She is at the autograph convention, Collectormania in Milton Keynes to meet fans and sign memorabilia.

Unlike the other people in the line, I’m here to interview her and in order to do so I have to hold up the queue. I can feel a hundred pairs of eyes boring into the back of my skull as I pull out my dictaphone. If I take too long I may end up getting my head taken off with an axe or a sword.

Game of Thrones is about the politicking and power play between several kingdoms for the Iron Throne in the fictional land of Westeros. Whoever sits on the throne has ultimate control over the other kingdoms. Headey plays Cersei Lannister, the queen of Westeros, who is seeking to retain power by any means possible and ensure that her son Joffrey remains the king.

Her character is scheming and malicious and Headey’s brilliant performance has resulted in a strong reaction from fans. ‘I usually get: ‘you’re a fucking bitch’. But today people have told me that think Cersei’s great. So I’m quite happy about that.’

It’s even more surprising that Headey does get noticed as Cersei considering that she looks quite different to her character. Unlike Cersei’s long, flowing blonde locks, Headey has short, dark hair and wears a pair of glasses.

The British actress, who also played Sarah Connor in the short-lived television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, goes on to say that she gets recognised as either Cersei or Sarah. ‘Sometimes no one recognises me which is fab but either or.’

Headey gave birth to her first child in 2010 and I ask whether her experiences as a new mother have had an influence on her performance as Cersei, who is a mother of three. When she answers there is warmth to her a voice and a smile as she tells me. ‘It’s massively influenced me in every bit, all the work I’ve done since having my son, because you access a little place you never knew existed. It’s like a recess of love and protection and loyalty, all of those magical emotions.’

While the first series of Game of Thrones established the characters and the kingdoms of Westeros, the second series built upon it and developed the story. She tells me about her favourite episode of series 2. ‘God, I love the battle in episode 9. I kind of loved it all this season. I like the Jon Snow story. I think it looks beautiful in Ireland but as whole I’m digging it.’

The show boasts a huge cast of actors, the majority of whom are from the cream of British acting, including Sean Bean, Charles Dance and Aiden Gillen. Headey likes the big cast and says: ‘There’s always someone to have a drink with at the end of the day, there’s always someone around.’

She says that if she could play any other character in the series it would be the witty and sardonic dwarf Tyrion Lannister, who is referred to as an ‘imp’ due to his stature. ‘Because he’s cool, he’s a pimp. He’s a P to the imp.’ Tyrion is possibly the best-loved character in the series and is played by Peter Dinklage, who won an Emmy Award for the role.

The HBO fantasy drama has garnered huge success both with critics and audiences alike, what does Headey think is the reason for its success? ‘Because I’m in it. No, that was a joke. I don’t know. There’s so many characters. I think there is something that appeals to everybody and even those people that haven’t been that embracing of it, love it. They watch it and they go ‘oh, it’s kind of good’. I think it’s a genre that people kind of shy away from. But it’s done in such a cool, contemporary way you can’t help but get into it. There’s a mood for everybody, there’s somebody for everyone to be on their team.’

She says she is a fan of the fantasy genre and adds: ‘I just love this because I’m not in it much I can watch it as a viewer and I just turn off when I’m on.’

Game of Thrones is known for its adult content and frequently features nudity and sex scenes that stray into softcore territory. While most of the female characters have been seen in various states of undress, the majority of male characters are rarely seen without a shirt on.

Interestingly, Headey is possibly one of the few female characters not to have bared her flesh in the series. Is there too much disparity in the nudity between men and women? ‘I mean…it’s getting a little better but there’s a lot of scenes about brothels and prostitutes and you know. All I know is I’m keeping mine on.’

Headey is busy with other projects. She will be appearing in the forthcoming Judge Dredd film Dredd as a character called Ma-Ma, who is the head of a terrorist organisation and the chief antagonist. She is also starring in Vigilandia with Ethan Hawke which she says is a ‘home invasion political movie slash horror’. She is currently working on a children’s fantasy film called Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box before returning for the third series of Game of Thrones.

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Image credit: Getty Images

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